by Patrick Hoffman on 01/03/09 at 02:00 PM ET
The New York Rangers will look to put up their second straight win tonight when they take on the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
In the team’s last meeting, the Capitals overcame a four goal deficit to defeat the Rangers 5-4 in overtime thanks to the play of their fearless superstar, Alex Ovechkin. It was a real gut-check moment for the Blueshirts that showed them that they still have a lot of work to do before being considered one of the NHL’s elite teams, despite being tied for third place with the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference, who each have 49 points.
In order for the Blueshirts to get back to playing consistent hockey, a lot of things have to happen.
For starters, their big free-agent signings of 2007 need to start stepping up. Almost half way through the 2008-09 campaign, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury have been rather quiet. They’re missing lots of scoring opportunities (only 50 points between them), looking for the perfect play too much and even struggling defensively as they are a combined -17. This needs to change now if the Rangers offense ever wants to really click.
Secondly, the team’s power play needs to start being the difference in games. Time and time again, the Rangers have been given power play opportunities to either take the lead, tie the game or add insurance goals and the team fails to do so at least 85 percent of the time. All the power play units need to do is throw the puck at the net and crash for rebounds. If they do that, I can almost guarantee you that they will score more goals with the man advantage.
Lastly, Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist needs to get back to playing the way the team knows he can. Even in their 5-4 win over the New York Islanders, the “King” looked shaky and his stats over the last month (with the exception of his win total) have taken a beating. If he can get back to playing the way he did during the first month and a half of the season, the team should be in good shape.
And so it begins tonight with a game against the Caps, who are second in the Eastern Conference with 53 points and have won 12 of their last 14 games.
There is no better way to show the other teams that you are an elite hockey club than by beating the Capitals tonight.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, chris+drury, eastern+conference, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, scott+gomez, washington+capitals
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.